Luxury home prices in the East Bay jumped in January compared to the previous month and year ago, according to Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the Bay Area’s leading provider of luxury real estate services.

The median sale price for all homes over $1 million in Alameda and Contra Costa County climbed to $1,315,000 in January, up 7.8 percent from January 2011 and 4.7 percent from the previous month.

While prices moved higher, luxury sales dipped during the first month of the new year. Some 40 homes sold for more than $1 million, down from 49 sales a year ago. Sales were off more sharply from December’s 74 transactions, although a drop from December to January isn’t unusual.

Other market indicators showed a stabilizing high-end market. There were six multi-million-dollar sales in January, up from four the previous month and the same as a year ago. And homes sold faster last month with an average of 60 days on the market, down from 85 a year ago and 63 the previous month.

The figures were derived from Multiple Listing Service data of all homes sold for more than $1 million last month in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

“The luxury market gained momentum at the end of last year and is showing signs of continuing that into the new year,” said Rick Turley, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. “As the rising prices indicate, there is strong buyer demand for good, high-end properties in the East Bay.”

Turley added, “The only thing holding back sales is that we don’t have enough inventory to meet demand. But as word gets out that the housing market is steadily improving and homeowners are getting good prices for their properties, I think more sellers will get off the fence and jump in.”

There are a variety of factors spurring activity in the luxury market, Turley said, including an improving economy, continued low mortgage rates, and sharp gains in the financial markets.

“With the rebound in the stock market, especially in the past few months, I think more buyers have the resources to make a sizeable purchase and are feeling more confident about the state of the economy going forward,” he noted.

Some key findings from this month’s Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage luxury report:

  • The most expensive sale in the East Bay last month was a five-bedroom, six-bath 7,621-square-foot home in Livermore that sold for $3.5 million;
  • Danville, Fremont and Oakland boasted the most million-dollar sales with five each, followed by Alamo and Pleasanton with four each;
  • Sellers on average received 95.6 percent of their asking price compared to 96.5 percent the previous month and 95.9 percent a year ago.

The East Bay Luxury Housing Market Report is a monthly report by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, a specialist in high-end real estate sales. Through its internationally renowned Coldwell Banker Previews® program, the company is recognized around the world for its expertise in the luxury housing market.

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage has 10 East Bay offices serving Berkeley, Castro Valley, Danville, Fremont, Livermore, Oakland, Piedmont, Orinda, Pleasanton, and Walnut Creek. For more information, please call 925-275-3085.